Tamil rebels operating ships abroad: Sri LankaBy DPA, IANS
Thursday, January 6, 2011
COLOMBO - Defeated Tamil separatist rebels of Sri Lanka were running illegal operations overseas, using ships that escaped the conflict, a senior cabinet minister said Thursday.
Rebels associated with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) still had at least eight vessels and were using them for illegal activities, including human trafficking, said Dinesh Gunawardena, the chief government whip and water supply and drainage minister.
The Tamil rebels were defeated by the government in 2009, ending a 26-year civil war, during which government forces destroyed 11 of the rebels’ 20 ships.
But “their international network is still active”, said Gunawardena, leader of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (People’s United Front), a member of the ruling coalition.
The opposition has asked the government what it is doing to recover the rebels’ overseas assets.
Gunawardena told parliament that the intelligence authorities were taking appropriate action against the remaining ships but declined to give details.
LTTE leader Kumaran Pathmanathan, who was captured in August 2009 in an unspecified Asian country, was reported to have provided the government information on the rebels’ operations.